THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for September, 2009

PRODUCT: Original Saratoga Chips

Like potato chips? You’ll love Original Saratoga Chips and the story behind them. Saratoga Chips were the original potato chip—created by an ornery cook in a fit of pique when a diner at the Saratoga Springs, New York resort where he worked sent back his fried potatoes as “too thick.” The cook, George Crum, did an “I’ll give him thin potatoes, all right!” and sliced the potatoes paper-thin, frying them in oil until they were crunchy. But surprise: The customer loved them and as history knows, so did everybody else.

The chips were then marketed as Saratoga Chips and were sold through the 1920s, when brands like Lay’s and Wise and strong regional brands gained ascendancy and Saratoga Chips faded into obscurity. Until now. Two entrepreneurs have revived the brand and carefully researched the recipe and technique. And they’re delicious! Beautiully boxed, they make great gifts as well. There’s even a petite 1.5-ounce size for stocking stuffers or party favors.

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The original potato chip has been reborn, and
it’s delicious. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky |
THE NIBBLE.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Simple, Elegant, Healthy!

For a special, flavorful yet low-calorie and healthy appetizer, slice blocks of soft Japanese tofu and sprinkle them with toasted black sesame seeds, soy sauce and nori flakes. For even more flavor, add bonito flakes. Arrange on a large platter and let guests help themselves, or serve individual plates with two slices (the tofu looks especially beautiful on Asian-style dishes). If your regular supermarket doesn’t have an Asian products section, buy nori and bonito flakes at an Asian grocer. As with any condiment, a good brand of soy sauce makes a big difference.

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ENTERTAINING: Cocktails Honoring “The Wizard Of Oz”

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Cocktails for Brains, Heart, Home and
Courage from the Oak Room at the
Plaza Hotel.

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the release of MGM’s classic film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Rent it today or this weekend and invite friends to join you for a trip down the Yellow Brick Road.

The Oak Room at New York City’s Plaza Hotel has created a drink special: shots inspired by the desires of the four lead characters in the movie. Head bartender Orlando Rivera has crafted this delightfully whimsical and potent collection:

  • Brains, a.k.a. the Mind Eraser, a shot of equal parts of vodka, Kahlua and tonic water
  • Heart, a watermelon and yuzu martini shot
  • Courage, a courageously spicy jalapeño-infused tequila shot
  • Home, comfort food in a cocktail, a peanut butter and jelly shot made of vodka, Chambord and Amaretto

 

Your guests will need a designated driver, alas: Outside of Oz, you just can’t click your heels and say “I want to go home.”

 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yummy Cupcakes

We’re about to be run out of town. We live in a big cupcake town. Everywhere we turn there are cupcake shops. Yet we turn to ordering ours from the other side of the country—Burbank, to be exact. We send Yummy Cupcakes’ Cupcakes In A Jar as gifts—and we put ourselves at the top of the gift list. We’re in love with Yummy Cupcakes. Anyone you send them to will be in love with you.

Let us explain the concept: A cupcake is not plopped into a jar. Rather, the folks at Yummy Cupcakes, creators of beautiful gourmet cupcakes, took their craft in a new direction. They layer different flavors of cake and buttercream frosting into Mason jars and top them with popular candies—Goobers, M&Ms, Raisinets, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Whoppers and other treats. There are also candies hidden in the layers below. The experience is more fun than regular cupcakes—and that’s saying something.

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Cupcake In A Jar is the best way to eat cupcakes. Photo by GG Merkel | THE NIBBLE.

The cakes and frostings are better than our own recipes—perhaps because Yummy Cupcakes’ bakers are graduates of Le Cordon Bleu. Even when you think certain flavors must be gimmicky, you’re wowed—for example, with the licorice buttercream in the Good & Plenty cupcake and the citrus cake and buttercream in the Sour Patch Kid that are perfectly set off by Sour Patch candies on top.

Yet any notion that these are cupcakes for kids must be dispelled: They’re cupcakes for people who appreciate fine food. How do you eat them? With a spoon!

  • Read the full review, see the photos and get ideas for baking your own yummy cupcakes.
  • See all of our favorite cake reviews and recipes in THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet Cakes Section.
  • Discover all the different types of cake in our Cake Glossary.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Kings of Coffee Liqueur

September 29th is National Coffee Day, so celebrate not with an everyday cup of Joe, but with a coffee cocktail. For generations there was Kahlua, an ingredient of the Black Russian and the Mudslide. More recent challengers are Starbucks and Illy liqueurs and the elegant Patrón XO Café, which comes from a small, family-owned distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, home of tequila (the liqueur is tequila-based). All three newcomers are more sophisticated than the old standby. Starbucks liqueur is sweeter, Illy and Patrón liqueurs are espresso-like. Try them straight; or for a Black Russian, mix 1 ounce of coffee liqueur with 1 ounce of vodka and pour over ice. For a Mudslide, shake together 1 ounce each of vodka, coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur and light cream and pour over ice in an old-fashioned glass.

  • After your celebratory cocktail, visit our Coffee Section for great articles about coffee, product reviews, recipes, and everything you want to know about coffee terminology and tasting coffee. 

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